Car ploughs into fish bar

A BEXHILL businessman had a lucky escape when a car smashed through the front of his popular restaurant.

Thursday, 2nd September 2004, 1:20 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:09 pm

Proprietor Len Coppola had just finished cleaning the counter of the Viking Fish Bar, at the junction of King Offa Way and London Road, when the vehicle careered through the building, badly damaging one of the main pillars supporting the roof.

Mr Coppola had left the shop floor moments before to fetch a mop.

"It's amazing, we're just so lucky," he said.

"If it had happened two minutes later I would have been washing the floor and probably have ended up with a broken leg - or worse."

The black Renault, approaching from London Road, smashed into the building just before 11pm last Thursday, when the fish bar was closed.

The woman driver and her passenger were taken to hospital with what police described as, "non - life threatening injuries."

Mr Coppola, who runs the restaurant with wife, Joanna, said: ""I had just finished brushing the top and I was going to the back to pick up a mop to clean the floor when I heard a bang.

"I could see absolutely nothing until about 20 or 30 seconds later when everything cleared and there was a car there.

"I wasn't shaken on the day, but the next morning I came down and started thinking, 'Oh my God, I could have been killed.' What if it had been my wife or the shop had been open?"

The Coppolas have yet to find out the extent and cost of the damage, but are eager to let customers know they will have the shop open again as soon as possible.

Mr Coppola added: "It was only a small car but the impact was big. I'm fully insured but what the cost of the damage is I don't know. We will open again, I have to.

"A lot of people have phoned to say how sorry they are about what has happened."

Rother building control officer, Bob Scrivener, who attended the scene said the building was not at risk, but would need a replacement pillar before re-opening.

He said: "The car had gone into the shop front and had hit a steel column causing it to buckle. The police arranged for the shop front to be boarded up and a temporary column to be put in."

"You couldn't really use the shop in the condition it was in and the temporary support will need to be replaced."

Police inquiries are continuing.